From: Dour, Belgium
Importer’s Note: “Saison D’Epeautre is a saison beer made in a unique traditional style, using spelt and barley malt in the mash. Very dry and light in body, with a hint of wheaty tartness and a hardy texture that expresses the character of spelt, a primitive strain of wheat.”It is one truly feisty brew, with an outrageous pop and a natural long-lasting head. And ah, the aroma! It’s a wonderfully heady, musty, cellar character that is unmistakably Belgian and a lot like champagne. The taste delivers on the promise of the nose. Very enjoyable, and perfect for summer, but wonderful at any time of year./ D’Epeautre is hand-brewed in small batches by the impassioned, gifted Blaugies brewers, a husband, wife, and son team. They’re very adventurous in recreating traditional beer styles – and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. The family enjoys good food and beer, and consumes a lot of its own product for cooking and drinking. We like the rougher, grainier malt texture of all their beers. They give you the feeling that the brewers put this beer in a bottle just a few days ago, especially for you.”
The cork fires from the bottle like a bullet, giving a fine and champagney “POP” that made me worry for a moment. The beer pours a brilliant, nuclear golden yellow with a huge head of perfect, pearly white, and frothy bubbles. The head mellowly recedes, but it leaves a cotton-ball wasteland stretching across the glass and rising up the edges in fat, fluffy clouds of lacing. In body, the beer is beautifully clean and clear, yet hazed and properly rustic. This beer looks pretty and dignified in the glass, with a healthy torrent of carbonation bubbles rollicking through its body. On the nose, the beer shows off its Dupont strain with beautiful and gassy funk. It moves from aged grains to moldy grass, to pure farmhouse stench, to that deep, nearly skunked scent that I lovingly associate with Dupont. On the subtle side of things, there’s lemon peel, ocean water, and a kiss of clean, herbal hops, but the farmhouse is the bully on the nose and it hits me right in my funky spot. I love the scent on this beer. On the tongue, the beer is delicate, moving with very light acidity that manages to pop the mouth just enough, while a smooth, herbal bitterness works in between the rich and earthy flavors of the yeast and its spicier phenolic counterparts. She’s a dry beer, save for a ghost of cereal sweetness on the front and finish. In flavor, the beer is, again, delicate moving from lemongrass to wet leather, to grass and herbs, perhaps a touch of rosemary, some pepper, and a brief, ghostly finish of cereal grain and wheat flakes. The beer is hugely quaffable, demonstrating a soft, fluffy mouthfeel, with the perfect amount of bite from the carb, the bitters, and the faint acidity. It’s on the plus side of light bodied, yet deceptive, with its weight hiding behind the fluffy carb which lets the beer dance nimbly over the tongue. When it leaves, the mouth is left lightly damp, with some pooled up spittle in the cheek pouches, and a slight astringency over the tongue that lets you know you drank a beer. Overall, this is a lovely, hugely drinkable saison that really hits home for the classic purpose of the style. I would love to crush this after a hard day’s work (in the field if I was a saisonnière, which I am not…) and it is begging to go with lighter dishes and white fish. I’ve passed up Blaugies in the past, because I am stupid and like to try new things and sometimes forget that what makes a classic interpretation of the style “classic.” I will not make that mistake again. This is a beautiful, dry, quaffable farmhouse drinker. Great beer.